House debates

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


National Broadband Network

7:50 pm

Photo of Amanda RishworthAmanda Rishworth (Kingston, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

'Very, very frustrating'; 'Endless problems causing great stress and problems'; 'I have no idea how the elderly, those who live alone or with a disability will ever manage. Something needs to be done.' These are just three of the recent complaints I have had about the NBN rollout in my electorate of Kingston in South Australia. The rollout of the NBN across Australia under this government has been abysmal. Under Malcolm Turnbull's watch, the cost of this second-rate network has nearly doubled; the time taken to install the system has more than doubled; and Australia has dropped to 60th in the world for internet speeds.

I feel that I have to get up time and time again to call the government to action on what has been a disastrous rollout of an essential service that is needed in my electorate. We have seen stuff-up after stuff-up during the recent rollout of the NBN in my electorate, with confusion and delay an everyday occurrence. My office has been inundated with and complaints about connection issues, service difficulties and problems with providers. I have received complaints from businesses and constituents who experience problems on every level. For example, on the connection, stating:

Having signed up with an ISP in connection in July, they inform me that the NBN is not ready for another six weeks.

And the:

… work was completed in April yet we are still not connected and don't look like getting connected in the near future.


… NBN has come to Hallett Cove. Everywhere except 6 houses in my street. Our neighbours can get it. We have been left off the roll out. I have contacted NBN, the Ombudsman and various internet providers... no one can give us answers.

To services, with community members caught between NBN and their providers, with NBN blaming service providers and service providers blaming the NBN. Well, the buck stops with this Prime Minister.

A regular complaint that community members have is that they book an appointment with nbn co to be connected; they fail to show up to the appointment; they rebook a second appointment; and, then, once again, no-one shows up. A constituent of mine asserts that NBN cancelled four appointments with him over a four-month period, with no reasons given for the cancellation.

And when they finally are connected, many of my constituents highlight that the speeds are at times 'actually slower than the previous ADSL connection'. There is all this hoo-ha from this Prime Minister, and the speeds are slower. I have received complaints from a local business that has been put under pressure as a direct result of the delays with the construction of the NBN. I think my constituent from Hallett Cove put it best when he called the current rollout of the NBN an 'embarrassing fiasco'.

The Prime Minister made a lot of promises. He made a lot of promises as communications minister and a lot of promises as Prime Minister. What has become clear, as the buck stops with this Prime Minister, is that he has failed. He has failed to deliver the most essential service to my electorate—that is, a decent broadband connection. He talks about innovation. He talks about being agile. But what he will not do and what he did not do as communications minister is actually provide the basic infrastructure to allow that innovation to happen.

We have seen Australia's internet speeds drop from 30th to 60th in the world. Therefore, it is very clear that we are not keeping up with the rest of the world, as a result primarily of this Prime Minister's plan to do a second-rate broadband, to rely on the copper in the ground as the solution. Of course, one of the reasons we were going to rely on the copper, according to the Prime Minister, was that we would get the NBN sooner. In fact, at the end of this year, we were all going to be connected to 25 megabits. Well, time is ticking, Prime Minister. We are getting very close to the end of the year and there are many thousands of my constituents that do not have 25 megabits per second. And of course, this NBN fiasco has not come at a cheaper price.

So I urge the Prime Minister to actually reconsider this failed plan, his failed second-rate NBN is not doing any good out there in the community. It is time he realised that fibre to the home is the only option. That is what my constituents demand, and that is what he should deliver.